The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 21, 2013

Arias tells jury what she'll do if allowed to live

PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias told a jury Tuesday that she can contribute to society if allowed to live, saying she'd like to start literacy, recycling and other programs in prison.

Arias addressed the jury in the penalty phase of her trial as the panel considers whether to sentence her to life in prison or execution.

After five months of trial, Arias told the jury she never meant to cause the family of Travis Alexander - who she killed - so much pain. The same jury convicted her of first-degree murder in Alexander's death.

Arias' voice wavered with emotion as she read from a sheet of paper with Alexander's family looking on in the gallery. She said she didn't kill herself after Alexander's death because of her love for her own family.

Holding up a white t-shirt with the word "survivor" written across it, Arias said she would sell the clothing and donate all proceeds to victims of domestic abuse.

She said she understands that some people don't believe she was a victim of domestic abuse, but that she still sees that to be true.

She showed the jury a picture of her best friend and said she didn't testify on her behalf because she received threats.

Her lawyers have said Arias is the only witness they'll call to testify on her behalf.

The judge instructed jurors they can consider a handful of factors when deciding what sentence to recommend, including the fact that Arias has no previous criminal record.

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